Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Soup Kitchen

Winter is definitely on its way. The mountains have a picturesque blanket of snow draped over them which provides a beautiful backdrop but unfortunately means that down here in the Valley it is rain, rain and more rain. The rain has been so heavy over the last few days that today the river finally gave in and burst its banks causing widespread flooding in town and leading to a state of emergency being declared! As bridges were closed and people living near the lake were evacuated, I remained tucked up indoors with the fireplace on and decided it was the perfect day to spend some time in the kitchen making warming homemade soup.

Soup was something that I grew up with and have therefore always loved and turned to for comfort. On a cold, rainy day nothing can beat a piping hot bowl of fresh soup with warm bread ready to dunk in! I think everyone has their favourite soup and of course when a cold or sniffle comes along I find that most people I know turn to a big bowl of soup. For me it has to be my mum’s vegetable soup sprinkled with curry powder and for my husband it is chicken noodle soup which soothes and revitalises.

Soup is a dish that can be enjoyed piping hot slurped from a bowl or mug or chilled and served in dainty glass bowls on a glorious summer day. It is extremely versatile, can be served for lunch or dinner and if that isn’t enough it is also inexpensive to make. It is universally eaten and enjoyed and the variations are endless. Below are two very easy recipes that I made today based on what I had in my kitchen, ideal for lunch and perfect for anyone just starting to make soup or needing a pick-me-up. With the weather the way it is however and winter fast approaching I can assure you that throughout this blog there will be many, many more soup recipes popping up to warm and comfort as needed!

Curried Vegetable Soup

This is such an easy soup that anyone could make it using minimal appliances, basic ingredients that are available all year round and that are cheap – perfect for someone on a budget. Mum always made this for us and now whenever I am ill it’s the only thing I want and that can make me feel better. I’ve kept the recipe exactly as mum made it, however feel free to add any additional herbs or spices that you have lying around.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 oz butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp curry powder, plus extra to sprinkle on top
Salt & pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Add the onion and cook gently for a few minutes until softened, then add the leeks, carrots and potatoes and cook gently for 10-15 minutes with a lid on. Once the vegetables have started to soften add the stock and curry powder and season with salt and pepper. Simmer gently for a further 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly before blending until smooth. Check the seasoning and serve piping hot with a little curry powder sprinkled over the top if you like.

Leek & Bean Soup

This is another incredibly easy and quick recipe that is hearty and delicious. Make sure you drizzle the soup with good quality extra virgin olive oil to finish it off perfectly.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4 good sized leeks, cleaned well and thinly sliced
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 litre/ 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 410g tin of cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan or pecorino to garnish
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

In a large pan heat the oil and butter until melted. Add the sliced leeks and cook for roughly 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the stock and then the beans. Season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid then simmer for 15 minutes. Leave the soup to cool slightly then blend roughly a third of it. Mix well and check for seasoning. When ready to serve, serve piping hot with a few shavings of parmesan and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


  1. the curried vegetable soup is one of the nicest soups I have ever tasted and so easy to make. Ideal for Halloween or on a cold wet windy day. Lorna Hopkins

  2. I made this soup last Sunday and loved it, very easy and the curry powder is a great touch. I had planned on freezing half of it but it didn't stay in the pot long enough! This weekend I will try the Leek and Bean soup. Jill Hopkins

  3. Thanks Lorna and Jill - I'm delighted you like it as much as I do. Jill - I'm the same, plan to freeze it but it's gone before I get the chance! It's definitely the season for homemade soup so expect to see lots more recipes soon. x

  4. Also - at this time of year check out my recipe for the Thai-inspired Pumpkin soup. Lorna if you aren't a fan of spicy food you can keep it mild - let me know if you try it.


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